Get Drunk

Translation of Charles Baudelaire’s “Enivrez-vous.”

One must always be drunk. That is the heart of the matter. So as not to feel the horrible burden of Time crushing your shoulders and bending you toward the earth, you must get drunk without rest.
But on what? On wine, on poetry, or on virtue; you choose. But get drunk.

And if, from time to time—on the steps of a palace, in the green grass of a ditch, in the doleful silence of your bedroom—you awaken to find your drunkenness has dissipated or disappeared, ask the wind, the waves, the stars, the birds, the clocks; ask all that flees, or wails, or rolls; ask all that sings or speaks; ask what time it is, and the wind, the waves, the stars, the birds, the clocks will answer you: “It is time to get drunk! So as not to be Time’s martyred slaves, get drunk, get drunk, and never rest! On wine, on poetry, or on virtue; you choose.”

Enivrez-vous.

Il faut être toujours ivre. Tout est là: c’est l’unique question. Pour ne pas sentir l’horrible fardeau du Temps qui brise vos épaules et vous penche vers la terre, il faut vous enivrer sans trêve.

Mais de quoi? De vin, de poésie, ou de vertu, à votre guise. Mais enivrez-vous.

Et si quelquefois, sur les marches d’un palais, sur l’herbe verte d’un fossé, dans la solitude morne de votre chambre, vous vous réveillez, l’ivresse déjà diminuée ou disparue, demandez au vent, à la vague, à l’étoile, à l’oiseau, à l’horloge, à tout ce qui fuit, à tout ce qui gémit, à tout ce qui roule, à tout ce qui chante, à tout ce qui parle, demandez quelle heure il est; et le vent, la vague, l’étoile, l’oiseau, l’horloge, vous répondront: “Il est l’heure de s’enivrer! Pour n’être pas les esclaves martyrisés du Temps, enivrez-vous; enivrez-vous sans cesse! De vin, de poésie ou de vertu, à votre guise.

Emily Leithauser

Emily Leithauser

Emily Leithauser’s first book, The Borrowed World, was the winner of the 2015 Able Muse Book Award. Her poems and translations have appeared in New Ohio Review, Southwest Review, Blackbird, Literary Imagination, and Unsplendid, among other journals. Her scholarship has been published in The Hopkins Review and The Global South. This fall, she will begin a position as an assistant professor of English at Centenary College of Louisiana.
Emily Leithauser

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Author: Emily Leithauser

Emily Leithauser’s first book, The Borrowed World, was the winner of the 2015 Able Muse Book Award. Her poems and translations have appeared in New Ohio Review, Southwest Review, Blackbird, Literary Imagination, and Unsplendid, among other journals. Her scholarship has been published in The Hopkins Review and The Global South. This fall, she will begin a position as an assistant professor of English at Centenary College of Louisiana.